"Alpha males are not born, and they don't achieve their position based purely on size and temperament. The primate alpha male is a much more complex and responsible being than a bully.
Merciless tyrants do sometimes rise to the top in a chimpanzee com¬munity, but the more typical alphas that I have known were quite the opposite. Males in this position are not necessarily the biggest, strongest, meanest ones around, since they often reach the top with the assistance of others. In fact, the smallest male may become alpha if he has the right supporters. Most alpha males protect the underdog, keep the peace, and reassure those who are distressed. Analyzing all instances in which one individual hugs another who has lost a fight, we found that although females generally console others more often than do males, there is one striking exception: the alpha male. This male acts as the healer-in-chief, comforting others in agony more than anyone else in the community. As soon as a fight erupts among its members, everyone turns to him to see how he is going to handle it. He is the final arbiter, intent on restor¬ing harmony. He will impressively stand between screaming parties, with his arms raised, until things calm down."
Mama's Last Hug by Frans de Waal, W.W. Norton & Company, 2019
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